Batman has had many outstanding events throughout his history, but some stand out far ahead of the rest in his library of adventures and cases. One such story is Jeph Loeb and Jim Lee’s Hush, a storyline that ran from Batman #608 to #619. DC Comics has revisited the villain and the story itself several times by DC since, and this stands as a testament to just how influential Hush was for modern readers and creators.
Hush was a no strings attached simple read that asked nothing of its readers. In fact, it still works as a brilliant entry point for people who want to get into Batman without rehashing the basics of his story that everyone already knows. The dark detective story is a prime example of what many readers want out of a Batman saga, and twenty years later, it’s hard to think of an event that topped Hush in many key respects.
10 It’s An Evergreen Story
One of the best things a major comic book story can become, especially one with such a strong creative team as Hush, is an evergreen story. In fact, most of DC’s best-selling stories through trade paperbacks and on the back issue market are typically self-contained stories.
Hush is something of an outlier in that, despite taking place well into the hero’s career and in the core series, it’s not connected to any heavy lore. Although some basic knowledge of the hero is useful, any new reader could have jumped on with Hush and been fully immersed in the world of Batman without needing to dive into other stories. This has helped Hush remain a timeless classic.
9 The Story Had Brilliant Covers
One thing that always catches the eye of a comic book collector is the books’ covers, especially when drawn by the likes of Jim Lee. While Batman comics have always had some of the best covers in the industry, Hush delivered some of DC’s greatest modern comic covers.
Issues like Batman #612 and #613 (by Jeph Loeb, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Alex Sinclair, and Richard Starkings) showcased Jim Lee’s art incredibly well, creating some of the most sought-after covers in comics. Even today, the twelve-issue story retains incredible value on the back issue market, in no small part thanks to people looking to collect the beautiful covers, including the variants.
8 Hush Made Things Personal For Bruce
A lot of stories in comics will try to cash in on the idea of playing into a hero’s backstory, visiting some aspect of their past readers weren’t previously aware of. Some stories don’t do this particularly well, but Hush introduced a new dimension to Bruce’s life without it feeling forced.
Hush’s Tommy Elliot, the titular villain, made for the story’s best revelation and his alliance with Riddler made the story all the more personal for Batman. It didn’t necessarily have the deeply rooted history that Under the Red Hood boasted, but Hush brought something new to Batman’s lore and the history of Bruce Wayne.
7 Riddler Figured Out Bruce’s Secret
Riddler is far from the first villain to deduce that Bruce Wayne is Batman, but it was still satisfying to see him figure it out. After all, the villain who embodies mysteries and riddles should’ve been one of the first characters to realize who his own arch-nemesis was.
Building up Riddler as a formidable enemy in Batman’s rogues gallery isn’t the easiest thing for writers to achieve, especially since Riddler still sports his campy, Golden Age style. However, Hush did an excellent job of reminding readers that one of Batman’s less-appreciated enemies was a real threat.
For most of Batman’s events, an established villain is typically used as the main antagonist. Hush was one of the very few big storylines that successfully introduced a new villain, one who became a recurring foe later on. The villain’s cool design, mysterious nature and lethal efficacy all made for a great invention.
Most of Batman’s biggest and best villains were introduced in one-shots, short stories in anthology books, or small story arcs. Hush stands out as having one of the biggest, most impactful debut stories in DC Comics. The story gave readers a foe they wanted to see again, rather than someone who’d become just another done-in-one bad guy.
5 It Reinvigorated The Batman/Catwoman Romance
One of comics’ biggest one again/off again romances in comics, Batman and Catwoman have been engaged in flirtations since the Golden Age. It was in Hush where readers, creators, and DC themselves officially committed to the “on again” side of their relationship. The story proved the two belonged together.
In Hush, Batman and Catwoman became a definitive couple, even if that would later be reversed in recent years. The previous years had cast Catwoman as Batman’s friendliest antagonist, but Hush began her path towards antihero status, and she’s more or less stayed there ever since.
4 There Was A Great Superman Fight
Not only did Hush deliver on one of the best Batman stories, it also revisited his classic rivalry with the Man of Steel. Under the influence of Poison Ivy’s mind control, Superman attacked Bruce, prompting The Dark Knight to retrieve his Kryptonite ring and pummel his teammate.
Batman and Superman’s friendship has been full of great showdowns between the two, and the Hush fight ranks near the top. Of course, it wasn’t a version of Superman with full control of his faculties, but it still highlighted how capable a fighter Bruce Wayne is.
3 The Art Was Incredible
It’s no controversial thing to say that Jim Lee is one of the greatest and most successful living comic book artists, as well as one of the most talented in industry history. Unfortunately, much of his modern work at DC has been relegated to variant covers and early issues. Few series feature his skills beyond the first arc.
As enjoyable as the Hush story was, it was really Jim Lee’s art that sold the arc to readers, especially when it came to drawing characters like Batman, Joker, and Catwoman. Comics are an artist’s medium, and Hush embraces this.
2 The Story Is A Solid Tour Of Batman’s World
Any major superhero event should take advantage of the scale of the story to cover as much ground of a hero’s mythos as possible. In the case of Hush, this was achieved effectively since Batman’s investigation took him on a tour of his major villains and Gotham’s underworld.
One of the many goals of any major storyline should be to serve as an entry point for new readers, not overwhelming them but still giving them a taste of the book. Hush achieved this and avoided falling into the trap of allowing someone like Joker or Bane to dominate the story.
1 There Was A Real Mystery Behind It
One thing many Batman stories, both events and ongoing arcs, often lack is a real mystery for the Caped Crusader to solve. Many stories instead offer one of the hero’s rogues front and center and follow Batman’s “war” with the villain, leaving very little to the imagination of readers. This wasn’t the case with Hush.
Readers who love a genuine detective story for Batman are often disappointed by stories whose conclusion is obvious from the jump. This was never the case in Hush, where readers were pointed in one direction only to discover they were wrong. Rather than simple action plots, the story honored the Dark Knight’s skills as a detective.
Hush quickly garnered a reputation as one of Batman’s best events. 20 years later, the DC Comics saga still maintains its legendary status. Read More